Like many people of my generation, I didn't plan on becoming a parent. On top of that, even though I’m ecstatic now to have the greatest son ever to wake up at 4 a.m., when I first heard the news I had some unexpected thoughts pop into my head that I wasn’t completely ready for. After talking to some veteran fathers in my circle of friends, however, I found out that not only are these ideas normal, they're also navigable. Here I'll share what they are, and how you can deal with them.
1. I’m not qualified for this task.
Many dads-to-be, upon learning that they're going to be fathers, look at the situation extremely pragmatically. Then, after taking a practical look at what it means to be a parent, come to the very logical conclusion that they simply don’t have what it takes.
The truth is that you learn as you go. If you have any questions about anything involving parenting, there are piles of books and Internet articles out there to help you, and they all probably say different things. Even with this contradictory information, you’ll get a good idea of what not to do. That’s really what you need to know anyway. You can do this.
2. I’m too poor for a kid.
Hospital costs aside, having a baby is surprisingly cheap. You have to be creative, though! Before my son was born, my girlfriend had a baby shower with her friends and family. This provided us with lots of clothes and gifts for our child, which we didn’t have to pay for. We liked the idea so much that we had another one with my co-workers (who were not invited to the first one). These nice people gave us more stuff. After that, it was daddy’s turn. After having it suggested by several of my male comrades, I decided to have a “diaper party.” This is essentially a party that's thrown by the dad to be. Every attendant brings a box of diapers, and either meat or beer. The host provides a location and a little bit more food. Using my apartment pool for free and a grill I purchased at Wal-Mart for $10, I got a year's worth of diapers, a week’s worth of beer, and had a full on Texas-style barbecue. By the time my son was born, I had clothes, diapers, and wipes without spending a dime of my lowly teacher salary.
3. My life is over.
Believe it or not, it’s normal to look at a kid and think “there goes my hopes and dreams.” It’s a somewhat immature interpretation of the mature feeling that your life is now dedicated to your child and no longer to your whims. However, you should take this opportunity not to give up your dreams, but to prioritize them. With parenthood comes decisions, and one of the biggest decisions you'll make is how to spend your time. For example, in the small amount of free time that I have now, I have to decide between fulfilling my dreams of being a writer, watching TV, doing yoga, running, or going to gym. The best thing is that the choice you make today doesn’t have to be the one you make tomorrow. During my one free hour each day, I do one of those things. Writing 2 to 3 hours a week is actually more than I did before I had a kid. It’s possible to do it all, just not all the time.
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